India wants Lanka visa fee reduced

The Indian concerns assume significance as it has now replaced Britain as Sri Lanka`s top inbound travel market.

Updated: Oct 23, 2011, 15:46 PM IST

Colombo: India has asked Sri Lanka to reduce the USD 50 visa processing fee for its nationals and tourists from SAARC nations, with Indians topping the list of holiday
makers in the picturesque country.

"India through its High Commission here told us that the visa fee is high. They wanted it reduced for all visitors covering SAARC nations", Chulananda Perera, Immigration
Controller told a news agency.

The Indian concerns assume significance as it has now
replaced Britain as Sri Lanka`s top inbound travel market.

In September year on year, the Indian tourist arrivals
had risen by 50 percent contributing to a 27 percent rise
overall tourism authority said early this month.

Under Sri Lanka`s new Electronic Travel Authorisation
(ETA) system coming into force on 1 January 2012 all tourists
to the island must pay a US dollar 50 processing fee.
Only the travellers from Maldives and Singapore would be
granted on arrival visas without a fee.

Tourist industry now looking to revive its fortunes after
the end of the war with the LTTE has also expressed concerns
over the scrapping of on arrival visas for nationals from 78
countries and replace it with ETA.

The government however has assured that the ETA would not
cause problems in terms of delays deterring the would be
travellers.

PTI